Tory gov’t mum on LCP review process

Community News & Features Jul 11, 2014 at 6:06 pm

By Veronica C. Silva

The federal government would not divulge to media details of how it is reviewing the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP).

The Philippine Reporter inquired with the offices Employment Minister Jason Kenney and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, about how the review process is being undertaken after news reports have speculated that the LCP is next to be reformed. This is after the federal government last June 20 announced sweeping reforms to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) which includes the LCP as one stream.

At the June 20 announcement, when Alexander was asked what’s next for the LCP, he said: “We are not reforming it (the LCP) today. … We will continue to look at a reform in this area. Expect plans in that respect to come forward. I can’t tell when but it will be an area of focus for us down the road.”

In recent days, Kenney was quoted in the media as saying that the LCP has “run out of control” as it has been used as a backdoor for family reunification. He noted that some live-in caregivers are being hired by their own relatives.

But a research team that has recently conducted a study on Filipino live-in caregivers refuted Kenney’s statement.

A government-funded study called Gabriela Transitions Experiences Survey (GATES) has revealed that “only one in ten live-in caregivers surveyed was recruited by relatives,” the research team said in a media statement. (See press release on page 5.) The statement added that this number “has actually been in decline over the past 10 years.”

“The reality is that the vast majority of live-in caregivers we surveyed came to Canada through employment agencies,” said Dr. Ethel Tungohan, co-investigator of the Gabriela Transitions Experiences Survey and postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Alberta. “There is little credible evidence that backs up Minister Kenney’s claims.”

GATES is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Asked for details on the basis for Kenney’s statement, his office referred The Philippine Reporter to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

CIC spokesperson Alexis Pavlich emailed The Philippine Reporter: “We are not going to comment and speculate on hypotheticals. We are always reviewing our immigration programs to ensure that they are working in Canada’s best interests.”

The LCP program is the only stream in the TFW program that allows TFWs to apply for permanent residency after completing some requirements.